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CRAFTS OF INDIA / IKAT / TYPES -2
IKAT
Double Ikat

- Double Ikat is a technique in which both warp and the weft are resist-dyed prior to stringing on the loom.

- Double Ikat is created by tying both the warp and weft prior to weaving or more specifically, employs a variety of tie-dye resist techniques.

- This form of weaving requires the most skill for precise patterns to be woven and is considered the premiere form of Ikat. The amount of labour and skill required also make it the most expensive, though many poor quality imitations flood the tourist markets.

- The silken feel of an elaborately intensive hand woven depiction of flora fauna, stylized elephants, motifs of flowers, jewels and abstracted geometrical patterns along with frolicking maidens dancing on the borders of the sari; all lauding the most beautiful textile craft form the world has ever known. This is the double Ikat craft form as practiced in Patan, a district in North Gujarat.

- The tie and dye of the yarn itself, before the weave requires intensive voyage of creative discovery within the mind of the weaver and as each pattern unfolds on the loom it is akin to the birth of a single perfect pearl. The word Patola to the connoisseurs conjures up an image of the absolute finest in silk hand woven textile, a skill intensive labor of love involving the mysterious bond of creativity between the weaver and the very silken strands of threads that eventually germinate into a luxurious sari worth losing a kingdom for.

- The textile works of art emanating from a Patola loom are predominantly sari length and are amongst the most famous textile craft forms in the world today. The making of a Patolu is a creative process envisaged in the mind of the weaver as tie and dye work is undertaken both on the warp and the weft threads.

-During the making, specific dye extracts from natural sources are used and supervised by the master craftsman himself.

Within the three Ikat categories

- single Ikat involves tying and dyeing of either warp or weft threads.

- In combined Ikat, both warp and weft Ikat coexist in different parts of the fabric, with both thread systems occasionally overlapping.

- In double Ikat, both warp and weft threads are tied and dyed in such a manner that when woven, threads from both axes mesh exactly at predetermined points to form a motif or pattern.

- In Andhra Pradesh, Ikat fabric is produced on pit looms, and semi-circular frames are used in the preparation of warp and weft.

- The special double Ikat is only produced in three countries, India, Japan and Indonesia. The double Ikat of India is predominantly woven in Gujarat and is called patola.

- Indian and Indonesian examples typify highly precise double Ikat. Especially prized are the double Ikats woven in silk known in India and Indonesia as patola (singular: patolu).

- These were typically from Gujarat (Cambay) and used as prestigious trade cloths during the peak of the spice trade.

- Pochampally Saree, a variety from a small village in Nalgonda district, Telangana, India is known for its exquisite silk sarees woven in the double Ikat “tie and dye” style.